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The Hula O Nā Keiki, a children’s solo hula competition, is held right here on the grounds of Kāʻanapali Beach Hotel. Though the event has grown over the years, from a single day affair to an entire weekend of Hawaiian arts and music, the objective has remained the same – to educate our children in the ways of our ancestors so that the culture can be carried forward.
Children from ages 5 years old to 17 years old will steal your heart and shutter your camera as you watch them compete in their categories for the coveted awards and titles. Besides each contestant going through a somewhat nerve-wracking interview in front of a panel of judges before the competition they are also required to memorize a chant in the native Hawaiian language. Later that evening they will perform one of their kahiko (traditional) and ʻauana (modern) style hula.
The next night is their last chance to prove to themselves, their hālau (hula school) and especially their kumu (teacher) that they have mastered the hula. Unless of course, they are also entered in the Pālua (couple) Division when we get see them dance one more time in tandem! It's a weekend of "oohs" and "ahs" of colorful costumes, sassy attitudes, and of course, expertise of traditional hula!
Hula O Nā Keiki is a solo hula competition for children ages 5-17. Participants are required to learn, interpret, and perform a specific Maui chant. The Hula competition is just one facet of a three-day event designed to allow participants the opportunity to learn about and nurture Hawaiian cultural values. This gives each student a sense of appreciation for the past and a deeper sense of identity with their Hawaiian ancestors; it is our intent to provide the youth with an avenue through which they may express their new understanding and awareness of the Hawaiian culture through the art of hula.
Hula O Nā Keiki further recognizes the importance of the skills and mastery of other forms of Hawaiian technology. Every effort is made to award prizes made by such masters, especially as it relates to hula. The Hawaiian Festival of Arts & Crafts and cultural workshops showcases their workmanship.
Through participation in Hula O Nā Keiki, it is our desire that young men and women will increase their knowledge and understanding of traditional Hawaiian culture and arts, and create a link to, and appreciation of the past. Enhancing self-worth and pride, the children may someday transform from haumāna to kumu (student to teacher).